Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 19, 2009
Great Basin's Bear Lake reveals records of past climate
The Geological Society of America presents a new special paper,

BUSM researchers identify gene variant associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have, for the first time, identified a gene variant on chromosome 4 that may be a potential risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A paradigm shift in immune response regulation
Over the past decade various pieces of the puzzle how signal transmission controls immunity have been coming together.

Heart bypass surgery better than angioplasty for certain patients, Stanford study shows
Results of a Stanford study that involved data from almost 8,000 patients show that for patients suffering from multi-vessel coronary artery disease who have diabetes and for patients older than 65, coronary artery bypass graft may be a better treatment choice than percutaneous coronary intervention (commonly known as coronary angioplasty), the technique of using balloons or stents to widen obstructed blood vessels.

Pitt vaccine to prevent colon cancer being tested in patients
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have begun testing a vaccine that might be able to prevent colon cancer in people at high risk for developing the disease.

Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight
When coral colonies meet one another on the reef, they have two options: merge into a single colony or reject each other and aggressively compete for space.

Mice stay lean with high-carb diet
UC Berkeley researchers have identified a gene that plays a critical regulatory role in the process of converting dietary carbohydrate to fat.

Pitt-led researchers create quick, simple fluorescent detector for TB
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have developed an on-site method to quickly diagnose tuberculosis and expose the deadly drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that can mingle undetected with treatable strains.

Half of Utahns with autism lead fulfilling lives, follow-up study shows
Twenty years after first being assessed in a long-term autism study, 41 Utahns with the disorder had a higher social outcome than those in similar studies, University of Utah psychiatry researchers have reported in the Journal of Autism Research online.

Study finds extensive patient sharing among hospitals; could impact spread of infectious diseases
Renowned research expert on infectious disease and epidemiology, Dr. Susan Huang, releases new study on patient sharing and how to track and prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Plant biologists discover gene that switches on 'essence of male'
Biologists at the University of Leicester have published results of a new study into plant sex -- and discovered that a particular gene switches on

Therapeutic hypothermia is promising strategy to minimize tissue damage
Recognition of the benefits of cooling strategies to protect the brain and spinal cord after traumatic injury has led to a wealth of cutting edge research, prime examples of which are featured in a special hypothermia issue of Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Epigenetic mark guides stem cells toward their destiny
Scientists at Rockefeller University have uncovered a gene control mechanism that guides the development and differentiation of epidermal skin stem cells in mouse embryos, and shown that this mechanism tempers the development of the skin barrier.

Seattle Times reporters win ASM public communications award
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology Public Communication Award has been awarded to Seattle Times reporters Michael Berens and Ken Armstrong for their three-part investigation into methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Washington State hospitals.

Bioscience institutions come together to launch Microlife Discovery Center for area students
Microbes may hold the key to many of the challenges we face today, such as renewable energy and disease eradication, and yet scientists estimate that they have discovered less than one percent of all microbial species.

Concern over Google links to worrying medical claims
Google needs better control of its advertisements and suggested links to avoid web pages that contain worrying medical claims, warn doctors in an article published on bmj.com today.

Gordon Brown must ensure G20 do not forget the world's poorest people
The lead editorial in this week's Lancet calls on UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to show strong and just leadership in the upcoming G20 meeting, so that the world's poorest are not forgotten in the economic downturn.

Arctic governments and industry still unprepared for oil spills 20 years after Exxon Valdez
Two decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill devastated Alaska's coast, governments and industry in the Arctic would be unable to manage a large oil spill, according to a new report by World Wildlife Fund.

Internet can warn of ecological changes
The Internet could be used as an early warning system for potential ecological disasters, according to researchers from Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University and the University of East Anglia.

Study finds most adolescents sent to group homes still involved with drugs/crime 7 years later
Most adolescents referred to long-term group homes after being charged with a serious offense reported they were still involved with crime or drugs seven years later, according to a new study.

Naltrexone can help heavy social drinkers quit smoking
Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist approved in 1994 by the US Food and Drug Administration for alcohol-dependence treatment, can reduce relapse rates among AD patients.

Genome-wide association scan reveals landscape of inherited variability in response to warfarin dose
Genes determining the optimal dose of warfarin have been identified in a genome-wide association scan of this pharmacogenetic trait.

Differences in neighborhood food environment may contribute to disparities in obesity
Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health examined the association of neighborhood food environments and

Barriers to diabetes care include restaurants and high-risk lifestyles, says international review
Review covering 8,900 patients and 4,500 health-care providers from 28 countries shows that eating out, lack of social support and high-risk lifestyles are just some of the barriers that stop patients with type 2 diabetes from controlling their condition.

No small measure: Origins of nanorod diameter discovered
A new study answers a key question at the very heart of nanotechnology: Why are nanorods so small?

The brain 'joins the dots' when drawing a cartoon face from memory
In a study by Miall, Gowen and Tchalenko published by Elsevier, in the March issue of Cortex, a brain scanner was used to record the brain's activity in each stage of the process of drawing faces.

ORNL, Southern Cal set sights on preventing blindness
Blindness in millions of people with diseases that starve eye tissue and nerves of oxygen might be averted with a procedure being developed by researchers at ORNL, University of Sounthern California and UT.

Highlights from the March editions of ESA journals
These press tips highlight research in the ESA journals Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecology, Ecological Applications and Ecological Monographs.

NAS annual meeting, April 25-28
From April 25-28, the US National Academy of Sciences will hold its 146th annual meeting, at which new Academy members will be elected.

IOS Press China Web site launched
Today IOS Press launched its China mirror Web site www.iospress.cn.

The origin of supernovae confirmed
Where do supernovae come from? Astronomers have long believed they were exploding stars, but by analyzing a series of images, researchers from the Dark Cosmology Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen and from Queens University, Belfast, have proven that two dying red supergiant stars produced supernovae.

Scots and Irish at greater risk of drink-related death, study shows
Research, conducted by the University of Edinburgh, also found that men born in India -- but living in England and Wales -- had similar rates of alcohol-related death as Scottish- and Irish-born people.

Acetaldehyde in alcohol -- no longer just the chemical that causes a hangover
New evidence shows that drinking alcohol is the greatest risk factor for acetaldehyde-related cancer.

Majority of fire and ambulance recruits overweight
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Harvard University and the Cambridge Health Alliance found that more than 75 percent of emergency responder candidates for fire and ambulance services in Massachusetts are either overweight or obese.

3-D snapshots of eyes reveal details of age-related blindness
To get a better look at the abnormalities that cause age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in Americans and Europeans over 50, researchers have created ultra-detailed 3-D images of the eyes of more than 2,000 people from different ethnic groups, 400 of whom have AMD.

Yeast biology yields insights into human knowledge expansion
How does human knowledge expand over time? Intriguing as the question is, it's not easy to investigate, due to the difficulty of measuring knowledge and its spread.

Major losses for Caribbean reef fish in last 15 years
By combining data from 48 studies of coral reefs from around the Caribbean, researchers have found that fish densities that have been stable for decades have given way to significant declines since 1995.

K-State researchers work with university in Ghana to create biofuels from native tree seeds
K-State biologists are working with a researcher in Ghana to create biodiesel from the seeds of trees that are common and well adapted to the climate of northern Ghana.

Genetic clues hold key to schizophrenia treatment
The study, conducted by the University of Edinburgh, found that a gene called DISC1 -- known to play a role in the development of mental illness -- may control the way some patients respond to psychiatric medication.

University researchers to develop coatings that kill superbugs
Researchers at the University of Bath are to be part of a €3 ($4.1) million Europe-wide research collaboration to pioneer research into safer, more effective anti-bacterial plastics and coatings that can be used in items such as food packaging, medical devices to wound dressings and diapers.

Low to moderate, not heavy, drinking releases 'feel-good' endorphins in the brain
Scientists know that alcohol affects the brain, but the specifics are unclear.

Medical symposium highlights importance of case reports -- patient stories in modern medicine
This one day meeting is a forum for doctors to celebrate and discuss case reports and patient stories.

Language of music really is universal, study finds
Native African people who have never even listened to the radio before can nonetheless pick up on happy, sad, and fearful emotions in Western music, according to a new report published online on March 19 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

New material could help cut future energy losses
Scientists at the University of Liverpool and Durham University have developed a new material to further understanding of how superconductors could be used to transmit electricity to built-up areas and reduce global energy losses.

Report warns of jury service 'trauma'
This first study of its kind highlights whether people called for jury service should be screened.

Penn State professor to evaluate bilingual school readiness program
Carol Scheffner Hammer, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, has received a $500,000 Head Start-University Partnership Grant to study the efficacy of a bilingual school-readiness program called Madres Educando a Sus Ninos/Mothers Educating Their Children.

Premature newborns lack 'death NET' to fight sepsis
When locked in mortal combat with infection, some mature white blood cells literally cast a DNA net -- called a neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) -- that captures and kills bacteria invading the human body.

A study proves that media can subtly induce society to justify violence against women
A research work carried out in the Department of Social Psychology of the University of Granada proves that press often tends to look for the assumed

Compound is key coordinator of clock and metabolism
A research team from Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine has discovered that the compound NAD, together with SIRT1, functions as a molecular

Heightened level of amygdala activity may cause social deficits in autism
Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered an increased pattern of brain activity in the amygdalas of adults with autism that may be linked to the social deficits that typically are associated with the disorder.

Maggot therapy similar to standard care for leg ulcers
Larval (maggot) therapy has similar health benefits and costs compared with a standard treatment for leg ulcers, find two studies published on bmj.com today.

High-speed signal mixer demonstrates capabilities of transistor laser
Scientists at the University of Illinois have successfully demonstrated a microwave signal mixer made from a tunnel-junction transistor laser.

Exposure to insecticide may play role in obesity epidemic among some women
Prenatal exposure to an insecticide commonly used up until the 1970s may play a role in the obesity epidemic in women, according to a new study involving several Michigan State University researchers.

Teeth of Columbus' crew flesh out tale of new world discovery
The adage that dead men tell no tales has long been disproved by archaeology.

TB vaccine developed at McMaster University in Canada
McMaster University researchers are about to launch Canada's first tuberculosis vaccine clinical trial with a vaccine totally designed, manufactured and tested within McMaster.

Fossil fragments reveal 500-million-year-old monster predator
Hurdia victoria was originally described in 1912 as a crustacean-like animal.

Cognitive decline begins in late 20s, study suggests
A new study indicates that some aspects of peoples' cognitive skills -- such as the ability to make rapid comparisons, remember unrelated information and detect relationships -- peak at about the age of 22, and then begin a slow decline starting around age 27.

Scientists trial device to treat chemotherapy-related nausea
Trials to test acupressure wrist bands as a drug-free alternative for chemotherapy-related nausea are to take place at the University of Liverpool.

MIT: Blocked enzyme reverses schizophrenia-like symptoms
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have found that inhibiting a key brain enzyme in mice reversed schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Optimum running speed is stride toward understanding human body form
Runners, listen up: If your body is telling you that your pace feels a little too fast or a little too slow, it may be right.

Progress toward an Alzheimer's drug that saves brain cells
VIB scientists connected to the K.U.Leuven have identified a molecule that can form the basis for a new therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

Ticking of body's 24-hour clock turns gears of metabolism and aging
Our internal 24-hour clock or circadian rhythm creates a daily oscillation of body temperature, brain activity, hormone production and metabolism.

Einstein researcher will help lead South African Research Institute for tuberculosis and HIV
A groundbreaking partnership between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa will establish an international research center focused on making major scientific contributions to the worldwide effort to control the devastating co-epidemic of tuberculosis and HIV and on training a new generation of scientists in Africa.

New findings highlight the role of endothelial cell activation in children with cerebral malaria
Researchers have identified a novel pathway that may contribute to the high mortality associated with severe malaria in sub-Saharan African children.

Brown chemists create more efficient palladium fuel cell catalysts
Two Brown University chemists have overcome a challenge to fuel cell reactions using palladium catalysts.

Light to moderate drinking and socialization are jointly good for cardiovascular health
While heavy drinking is associated with a greater risk of stroke, light-to-moderate drinking has been linked to a lesser risk of ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease.

Research synthesis shines light on several management options after fires in diverse ecosystems
No single decision-support system exists for selecting alternatives for post-fire management.

New simulation shows consequences of a world without Earth's natural sunscreen
A team of atmospheric chemists from NASA have simulated

Novel spinal cord stimulator sparks hope for Parkinson's disease treatment
A novel stimulation method, the first potential therapy to target the spinal cord instead of the brain, may offer an effective and less invasive approach for Parkinson's disease treatment, according to pre-clinical data published in the journal Science by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

'Less is more' when it comes to treating high blood pressure
A newly published study found patients actually have more control of their high blood pressure (hypertension) when treated with less medication.

Genetic irregularities linked to higher risk of COPD among smokers
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have discovered two genetic markers that appear to put some smokers at significantly higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Fetal alcohol syndrome testing expands
Improved technology, partnerships and collaboration across two provinces have allowed Queen's University scientists to dramatically expand the use of eye-movement tests that help identify and assess children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Society of Interventional Radiology honors Dotter lecturer, announces gold medalists
Matthew A. Mauro, M.D., F.S.I.R., delivered the 2009 Dr. Charles T.

MSU scientists help lead teams in detection of fundamental component of matter
Michigan State University scientists and colleagues around the world took a step closer to understanding the universe with the discovery of a fundamental building block of nature.

Einstein and Pitt researchers develop new TB test that will dramatically cut diagnosis time
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh have developed an on-site method to quickly diagnose tuberculosis (TB) and expose the deadly drug-resistant strains that can mingle undetected with treatable TB strains.

Schizophrenia-linked gene controls the birth of new neurons
A gene that is arguably the most studied

When intestinal bacteria go surfing
The bacterium Escherichia coli is part of the healthy human intestinal flora.

New study finds hospital practices strongly impact breastfeeding rates
Hospital practices, such as supplementing newborns with formula or water or giving them pacifiers, significantly reduce the chances that mothers who intend to exclusively breastfeed will achieve that intention, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher.

Taking the conversation inside: Enhancing signals in cell interior
Scientists used to think most of the exchange of information between cells was conducted at the surface, where cell receptors receive signals from other cells.

Stanford study improves insights into Parkinson's disease and possible treatments
In a new study that will be published March 19 in the online journal Science Express, Stanford University researchers used light to illuminate how the treatment works, generating surprising insights into the diseased circuitry and also suggesting new ideas to improve Parkinson's therapy.

Stranger knows best: Other people know more about what will make us happy than we do
Want to know what will make you happy? Then ask a total stranger -- or so says a new study from Harvard University, which shows that another person's experience is often more informative than your own best guess.

'Buckyballs' to treat multiple sclerosis
If you're of a certain age, you'll remember Buckminster Fuller's distinctive

The human brain is on the edge of chaos
Cambridge-based researchers provide new evidence that the human brain lives

The brain maintains language skills in spite of alcohol damage by drawing from other regions
Researchers know that alcoholism can damage the brain's frontal lobes and cerebellum, regions involved in language processing.

Timing of children's vaccinations varies widely between and within countries
Children's vaccinations are often delayed until well after the recommended ages in low-income and middle-income countries, leaving many children exposed longer than they should be.

'Happy Pills in America' -- our complex love affair with designer consciousness
The spectacular increase in the use of psychiatric drugs over the past 50 years involved what a University at Buffalo historian calls

ACP: Residency match results demonstrate need to address national primary care workforce goals
For each of the past two years, the number of US medical students choosing internal medicine residencies has decreased by approximately 1 percent from the previous year.

A recipe for dog bite injuries: Kids, dogs and warm weather
If you and your child are romping in the park or enjoying a stroll on a warm spring day and a dog approaches, be ultra vigilant.

Biotech company co-founded by BIDMC scientists targets natural killer T-cells
NKT Therapeutics Inc., a Newton-based biotechnology company co-founded by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers Steven Balk, M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Exley, Ph.D., has announced that it has closed an $8 million Series A venture financing co-led by venture capital firms SV Life Sciences and MedImmune Ventures.

Springer to publish new book series with the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy
Springer is launching a new book series called the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy Series on European and International Affairs.

Coronary artery bypass surgery could be better than catheter and balloon intervention for diabetics and patients aged 65-75 years
A study comparing open coronary artery bypass graft surgery with the less invasive catheter/balloon/stent percutaneous intervention has revealed that CABG might be a better choice for patients with diabetes and patients aged 65-75 years since it leads to lower mortality.

Syracuse University researchers build a new surface material that resists biofilm growth
This is the tale of two biological substances -- cells from mammals and bacteria.

Lab-grown nerves promote nerve regeneration after injury
Researchers have engineered transplantable living nerve tissue that encourages and guides regeneration in an animal model.

Perceptions of similar language may prevent understanding of sexual harassment policies
Although the Society for Human Resource Management reports that 97 percent of US companies have a written sexual harassment policy, a recent University of Missouri study indicates that those policies might not be effective in preventing workplace harassment.

Genomic fossils in lemurs shed light on origin and evolution of HIV and other primate lentiviruses
A retrovirus related to HIV became stably integrated into the genome of several lemurs around 4.2 million years ago, according to research led by Dr.
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